Amadou Kouyate

Posted on 
February 28, 2022
3:40 pm

Amadou Kouyate is a master of several West African instruments, from the 21-string Kora to the djembe and Koutiro drums. 

As the 150th generation of the Kouyate family of Manding Diali, Amadou learned at a young age the importance of music in his culture. He learned to play from his father, Djimo Kouyate, and started performing at just three years old. His catalog of music now ranges from traditional 13th century classics to original jazz and blues compositions. 

Since he began his career in Washington D.C., Amadou has been passionate about carrying on his family’s tradition as oral historians, acting as an ambassador of West African culture and music throughout the region. He has performed at The Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian Institution, and Carnegie Hall, and was also selected as the 2013-14 Artist in Residence at Strathmore, an elite performing arts center in the D.C. area. He has also been an adjunct lecturer at the University of Maryland for African Music and Ethnomusicology. Amadou’s other artistic awards include the Maryland State Arts Council Governor’s Citation and musical theatre scholarships from Howard University’s Levine School of Music. 

Amadou has studied with master Diali musicians, including Djimo Kouyate and Toumani Diabate, in Mali, Senegal, Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire. He’s performed at festivals all over the world: the Patronio Alvarez Festival (Colombia), the Victoria World Percussion Festival (British Columbia), the Tim Festival (Brazil), and the Emancipation Festival (Trinidad and Tobago), to name a few.

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